Fun filled extras that young kids will probably enjoy.
Johnny Depp’s Wonka and Danny Elfman’ score gave me a toothache.
I liked Charlie and the Chocolate Factory a lot more when I saw it over the summer. I don’t know why this is but I just found that the movie didn’t “sit” well with me on my second viewing. I don’t know what I was expecting, I just found this film to be very disjointed. As if it was just a lot of pedantic weirdness, mixed in with a great many visual FX that were not in any way bolstered by Danny Elfman’s utter failure with this soundtrack. While I applaud Tim Burton for not going the straight musical route with this film, I don’t understand why he chose to go the way he went with Depp’s version of Wonka.
At the end of the day, I just found this movie to be too “out there” for my tastes. It sadly seems like like it got caught up in a tussle between being a Tim Burton/Studio Movie, or just a complete Tim Burton creation. Something tells me that this movie would have been better served if it had chosen which one it was going to be. As a result it seems like we have a mishmash of ideas that neither serve the story, or the point of Roald Dahl’s classic story.
Attach of the Squirrels; Fantastic Mr. Dahl and Becoming an Oommpa-Loompa
The Attack of the Squirrels featurette essentially breaks down how they made 40 squirrels look like 400. Well, maybe not quite that many but you know what I mean. They named all the squirrel’s, they trained them and this is probably why the squirrel sequence is one of the most impressive parts of this movie. The featurette The Fantastic Mr. Dahl looks at the writer of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” as a person (emphasizing his “jokeyness”), but it also looks at the profound effect that his work has had on so many people. This was a man who clearly “was on the side of the child.” Becoming an Oompa-Loompa is a behind the scenes expose on what the actor Deep Roy went through be an Oompa-Loompa. First off, while I might not think much of his performance, it is pretty amazing that he played all the Oompa-Loompa’s in this movie. The fact that he had to learn how to sing and dance, for such a pivotal role, was also an enormous gamble. Decide for yourself if it paid off...
Making the Mix; Oompa-Loompa Dance and Bad Nut
Making the Mix is broken up into 5 parts. These parts are “Chocolate Dreams,” “Different Faces, Different Flavors,” “Sweet Sounds,” “Designer Chocolate” and “Under the Wrapper.” All these parts cleverly come together to form one big “making of” featurette. We learn about how the look of the film was conceived and designed, the cast, the music and pretty much everything else. The Oompa-Loompa Dance is clearly for the kids as it teaches them how to dance like an Oompa-Loompa. There is also a game here where you use your remote control to make the Oompa-Loompa dance forever. The Bad Nut game also has us using our remote as we toggle back and forth helping the squirrel’s sort through all the “bad nuts” that they come across. It took me awhile but I eventually figured out what I was doing.
Inventing Machine and the Search for the Golden Ticket
The Inventing Machine allows us viewers to use our remote and mix together ingredients for a new kind of candy. Then we have an Oompa-Loompa test it out for us. On the one that I tried, the Oompa-Loompa ate it and farted green smoke. Lastly, in the Search for the Golden Ticket we help Charlie, Augustus Gloop, Violet Beauregarde, Veruca Salt and Mike Teavee find a golden ticket. All in all, I think the extras on this DVD are it’s high point. They are mainly for kids but they also provide interesting information for how this movie was made. Also, people who purchase this 2-Disc Deluxe Edition get 5 limited edition trading cards for their troubles.
Widescreen presented in a “matted” widescreen format preserving the aspect ratio of it’s original theatrical exhibition. Enhanced for Widescreen TVs. There is no denying that Tim Burton is a true visionary. There is also no denying that this movie looks amazing. However, once you get beyond the artifice of what Burton and his team have created, there really seems to be a hollowness in the performances. However, as far as being a colorful kids movie with eye-grabbing scenery and a lot of in your face zest, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory more than delivers. Sadly, once you get the package open there really isn’t too much inside.
Dolby Digital. English, French and Spanish Dolby Surround 5.1 EX. You know, it could be because I have very poor hearing in one ear, but I had a very hard time hearing some of Freddie Highmore’s (Charlie Bucket) dialogue. There seemed to be a clash between the grand scope of this movie’s score, and the dialogue that was recorded on set. In fact, there is one scene in the elevator when I saw the film in the theater, where I had no clue what Freddie had just said to get Charlie’s attention. They even used this section in a trailer for the movie when it was released! On DVD it was a bit better and honestly, I got about 98% of what the characters were saying. As far as the sound on this DVD goes, they generally got it almost perfect.
The photo of Depp as Wonka tipping his hat is the main one that is on display here. I will say one thing, it is certainly colorful and ominous enough to grab people’s attention. The back features shots of Depp as well as some shots from the movie itself. There is a very well written description of this film, a “Special Features” listing (though not comprehensive), a cast list and some technical specs. Inside, both discs are housed in 2 trays in this very economical amaray case. As this is a Tim Burton film with a lot of supplemental possibilities, I am sure at some point they will release this set inside a miniature chocolate factory or something. Honestly, this 2-disc set is really all you need.
I hate and I mean HATE the music for this film. I think is we have finally seen Danny Elfman “jump the shark” as it were in terms of the kind of soundtrack he has put together here. I just cannot believe how awful the music is. Also, the Deep Roy thing gets really old. It just isn’t funny and after awhile seems like it’s a minstrel show that only Burton and his Creative team seem to find funny. This isn’t to say that I was offended by what I was watching, I just think that it got old really fast when I watched in the theater, and on DVD I quickly reached for the fast forward button.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is one of those movies that some people are going to like, and some people are going to dislike. When I first saw it, I liked it a lot but there were some glaring things about it that turned me off. Now? I was completely swayed by this movie’s flaws to the point that I can’t recommend it.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was released July 13, 2005.